In Singapore for two weeks

We’ve enjoyed a very different type of Christmas this year in Singapore. Laying low and enjoying some downtime has been the key priority. Our wonderful friend who works at the Singapore American School was kind enough to offer her beautiful apartment just near Orchard Rd.

We’ve spend time in Singapore on previous trips, but never two weeks solid. I did forget it was the rainy season here, so the weather has been a bit drab, with a bumpy flight in. Novita’s sister, Nana, is also joining us and the two of them have been shopaholics, excited to see the pre and post Christmas sales. I will say that between Novita and I, I’m the one who spends much more money, so this trip is all about role reversal.

I’ve forgotten just how expensive Singapore is for things like food. A crappy pizza and distasteful pasta set us back over $45 SGD. We’ve become spoiled living in Jakarta and Manila all these years.

Besides walking around, shopping, and the zoo, what else do you recommend we try to do/see while in Singapore for still another 6 days?

Powerful quake strikes Indonesia – felt in Jakarta and Singapore

Although we’re fine here in Jakarta, this brings back memories from the Asian Tsunami. I live only two miles from the ocean, and barely above sea level.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) — A strong earthquake measuring 7.9 in magnitude has struck near southern Indonesia, sending employees fleeing into the street and triggering a small tsunami.

Companies have ordered immediate emergency evacuations.

Brian Shiro of the National Oceanic and Atmopheric Administration’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the tsunami measured about two feet high, much smaller than the devastating one that struck in 2004, killing more than 200,000.

It was recoreded in Padang, on Sumatra, several hundred miles northeast of the epicenter, Shiro said.

A tsunami watch has been issued for all Indian Ocean areas including Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Pakistan, Iran, Yemen and Kenya.

The earthquake struck at 1810 local time (1110 GMT) in Bengkulu province.

Several skyscrapers in Jakarta were rocked by the quake, which came at the end of the work day, said Andy Saputra, CNN producer in Jakarta.

“It’s pretty strong and people are being evacuated from the tall buildings,” he said.

Jakarta is 605 km (375 miles) southeast of the epicenter. The epicenter is believed to be Bengkulu Province in southern Sumatra.

Although some employees were too afraid to leave their offices, companies ordered immediate emergency evacuations, Saputra said.

Workers exited structures via fire stairs and went into the street, away from buildings and other potential dangers, he added.

The Financial Times’ John Aglionby, speaking from Jakarta, told CNN: “I was up on the 16th floor of a skyscraper… I heard the blinds flapping and the windows first and the chairs were shaking and everything, and realised that we had to get out.”

A resident of Bengkulu province told CNN: “Everyone is running out their houses in every direction.”

High-rise buildings also were evacuated in Singapore, CNN Producer Martin Bohley said.

He said he felt shaking for almost a minute.

“At first I wasn’t quite sure, then I reconfirmed with staff at the hotel, then I turned on local media here, and local media had reported that several high-rise locations had felt it so strong that they had evacuated.”

Ken Navidad at the U.S. Geological Survey said in Denver said the tsunami centers in the Pacific and Alaska initially said two quakes, but he did not know why. He said his agency has measured only one.

Wednesday’s earthquake is 10 times smaller than the one that caused the giant tsunami off the northern tip of Indonesia in 2004, John Applegate of the USGS in Washington said.

But he added: “The earthquake itself is a warning that there could be a tsunami, and people have to get off the beaches.”

Applegate said it was a shallow earthquake, about 19 miles deep, which is more of a threat to the local population.

“(With a) deep earthquake, the waves have to travel through a lot of the earth before they reach population; shallow earthquake means the local population is right there,” he explained.

“It also means that its more likely to rupture the surface, and with this being a subsea earthquake, that means there is the tsunami potential.”

Tsunami warning centers in Hawaii and Alaska said no tsunamis were expected in their areas.

Indonesia, which sits on the Pacific Basin’s “Ring of Fire” – an arc of volcanos and fault lines, is prone to seismic upheaval.

In December 2004, a massive earthquake off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people, including 160,000 people in Indonesia’s province of Aceh.

Tilt / Shift Photoshop Experimentation

Objects in the Mirror May Appear Smaller Than They Are

Per Maria’s request, here’s the ‘before’:

The technique fools the eye into thinking objects are much smaller than they really are. Obviously, since this is my first attempt, it’s not as convincing as some others. However, it’s quite easy and even a bit entertaining. It involves applying a Photoshop effect which mirrors the effect of an actual (*expensive) tilt/shift lens.

Here’s a gallery of actual tilt/shift photography.

There’s a simple and quick tutorial here for the faux Photoshop version.

A flickr group just for tilt-shift miniature fakes.

And a plethora of other links on the subject.

By the way, the photo above was taken in Singapore (Bencoolen St.) Here’s the full-size version.